Union Berlin: A Football Fairytale in Germany

Union Berlin: A Football Fairytale in Germany

In a visual timeline, The Game magazine laid eyes on the history and development of the rising German Bundesliga Club Union Berlin, starting from the 90s.

The football club from Köpenick, a district in the south-east of Berlin, has conquered the highest tier of German football by storm. The Union fans play a big part in the success of the club, as they are famous for their pride, humility and modesty, which stems from their deeply rooted connection to Union Berlin being a working class club from the historically overlooked East-Germany.

Together, the club and its fans have built something truly remarkable: a genuine pleasure in football that they share, which extends beyond the realm of commerce and industry. The Game  has highlighted some of the club’s key moments and created a visual storyline for the history of 1.FC Union Berlin.


Before 2000: Lower Leagues and Invalidated Promotion


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IMAGO / Camera 4꘡Promotion celebration. Head coach Frank Pagelsdorf opening a beer barrel, promotion would later be invalidated because of licensing problems. Season 1992/93.









2000/2001: Promotion 2. Bundesliga and DFB-Cup Final


Union Berlin: A Football Fairytale in Germany
IMAGO / Camera 4 | A young fan cheers on Union Berlin before the DFB-Cup Final in 2000/01 against Schalke 04, Olympiastadion. 26 May 2001, Berlin, Germany.













2003-2005 Relegations to the 4th Division


Union Berlin: A Football Fairytale in Germany
IMAGO / Bernd König | Saddened Union fan after relegation to third division Regionalliga Nord, 2003/04. Germany.







2007/2008: Promotion 2. Bundesliga


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IMAGO / epd | Impressions from Alte Försterei in 2009. Berlin, Germany.





2008/2009: Fans Renovate the Stadium “Alte Försterei”


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IMAGO / Matthias Koch | Voluntary worker, Kay Kunke, stands proud in front of the nearly finished Alte Försterei, 2009. Berlin, Germany.













2009-2018: Establishing in 2. Bundesliga


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IMAGO / Baering | Newly built Main stand at Alte Försterei, 2014. Berlin, Germany.







2019: Promotion 1. Bundesliga


imago images / Sven Simon
IMAGO / Sven Simon | Fans celebrate the promotion with player Sebastian Polter, Striker, 2019. Berlin, Germany.















Since 2020: Journey to the Top & Europa


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IMAGO / Contrast | Ultras of Union light up the stands with flares and smoke during the city derby against Hertha BSC, Olympiastadion Berlin.

















IMAGO/Matthias Koch
IMAGO / Matthias Koch | Dirk Zingler, the strong man behind Union Berlin’s success throughout the years.

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IMAGO / pepphoto / Horst Mauelshagen | Striker Kevin Behrens celebrates his equaliser against Borussia Dortmund, 22/23 season, Signal-Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany.

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IMAGO / camera4+ | The team surrounds Rani Khedira and celebrates ecstatically after his winning goal against Werder Bremen on the last match day of the Bundesliga, which secured a Champions League spot for Union Berlin, 22/23, Stadion an der Alten Försterei, Berlin, Germany.

IMAGO/Beautiful Sports
IMAGO / Beautiful Sports / Luciano Lima | Long-time captain and club icon Christopher Trimmel celebrates Union Berlin’s qualification for the 23/24 UEFA Champions League with a cardboard cutout of the trophy, Stadion an der Alten Försterei, Berlin, Germany.

IMAGO/Matthias Koch
IMAGO / Matthias Koch | Head Coach Urs Fische celebrates his achievement of leading Union Berlin to the UEFA Champions League, Stadion an der Alten Försterei, Germany.

IMAGO Collections of the history of 1.FC Union Berlin:

FC Union Berlin History, Archive Pictures.

1. FC Union Berlin, the special club – fans help with the stadium reconstruction.

Article and image selection by Johannes Häring.